In 2023, Conor McGregor undeniably retains his status as the most influential figure in MMA and the UFC.
Despite a hiatus from the ring for two years, UFC president Dana White continues to talk about Conor McGregor’s profound impact on the sport.
Dana White has presided over the UFC since 2001 and played a pivotal role in elevating the sport to mainstream status. In an exclusive interview with Big Boy TV, White reminisced about the pivotal moment he decided to bet on McGregor. This decision was spurred by the resounding endorsement from fervent Irish fans.
During a visit to Dublin in order to accept an award, Dana White experienced a surprising encounter that would shape the future of the UFC. Enthusiastic patrons at a local bar approached White. They praised the transformative potential Conor McGregor held for the sport and its ever-expanding brand.
Unbeknownst to White at the time, the next six to seven years would usher in a period of unprecedented success. He attests that it was McGregor’s charismatic persona that ultimately sealed the deal.
The pivotal moment came when UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby inked the deal with McGregor. A dinner meeting in Las Vegas was the catalyst that further piqued Dana White’s interest.
White recalled: “He had already had his finger on the pulse of Conor McGregor and knew what was going on. They signed him. Conor came out here. He and I went to dinner.”
“When I left the dinner, I called Lorenzo [Fertitta]. I said, ‘Dude, I don’t know if this kid can fight or not, but if he can even throw a punch, he’s gonna be a huge superstar.’”
As the narrative unfolds, McGregor ascended through the ranks of the featherweight division. He bested formidable opponents like Max Holloway, Dennis Siver, Dustin Poirier, and Chad Mendes. McGregor’s crowning achievement came when he defeated Jose Aldo for the featherweight title, solidifying his status as a two-division champion in 2016.
While McGregor’s victories have been sparse since 2016, he is supposed to face-off against Michael Chandler at UFC 296. As of now, the match remains unconfirmed with discussions shrouded in silence. The event is tentatively slated for December 16 at the T-Mobile Arena.
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